How to make the most of self-isolation – responsibly
Could self-isolation be the best excuse for self-pleasure?
Maybe now might be the time to be pro-self-pleasure rather than pro-create?
Talking to local pleasure positive sexuality professional and self-pleasure enthusiast, Abby Herrick of Pleasure & Peach, we chat about the best ways to keep things exciting in the bedroom, tips on self-pleasure, and even toy, erotica, and porn recommendations. Nothing is off limits; we're chatting about it all.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of it. Why do you think the topic of sex is still taboo, especially self-pleasure? Why can’t we shout from the rooftops that we have a healthy relationship with masturbation?
Our sexuality plays such huge role in our lives. Sexual pleasure is one of the most beautiful experiences we can have as humans! Solo sex needs a special shout out. It’s an amazing way to connect with our bodies, and along with a huge list of health benefits, you don’t need to worry about STIs or unwanted pregnancies. I can promise you a vibrator has never broken my heart. It’s also important to mention that masturbation is also healthy and normal, even if you’re in a relationship.
I think that there are many reasons why sex and self-pleasure are still taboo. We live in a society that is still largely conservative when it comes to sex, especially female pleasure and masturbation.
Celebrating sexuality and pleasure, particularly female pleasure is a wonderful way to break down the shame and stigma society has needlessly placed around it. Talking openly about sex and pleasure helps to normalise it, which is incredibly empowering. A quality, pleasure positive sex education is also another way to celebrate. When we understand our sexual anatomy and pleasure centres, we can better pleasure ourselves, and more confidently communicate how we like to be pleasured with a partner(s).
In heterosexual relationships, it’s a huge step towards closing “The Orgasm Gap” (Men orgasming disproportionally more than their female partner/s). Through education and celebration of the female orgasm we can bust myths that are helping to perpetuate this Gap.
I have been passionate about celebrating female sexuality and pleasure for a long time. I have personally experienced the liberation and empowerment that comes from learning about my body, valuing my pleasure, and practicing sexual self-care.
Self-pleasure has helped me build a beautiful relationship with myself, and it has enabled me to metaphorically shout from the rooftops about the importance of masturbation, so here I go… MASTURBATION IS NORMAL, AND HEALTHY AND WONDERFUL! PASS IT ON!
Australia is currently being faced with the potential of going into lockdown, what would you say to couples that might need help livening up or reigniting their sex life, especially now potentially spending 24/7 together?
My biggest advice is to make time for intimacy and/or sex. Book it in! It’s date night but at home! Making a conscious effort to connect and be present with each other is hugely important. To make things more interesting after spending 24/7 at home, try to spice up your context to make it look and feel special for your date night. And, if you are trying to reconnect or reignite your sex life, start with acts of intimacy first.
For example. Make a lovely meal together. Heck! Get out your fancy tableware and wine glasses. We’ve all got a packet of tea light candles shoved in the back of a cupboard. Dig them out! This is a special occasion. Get dressed up, wear your favourite outfits (or pyjamas). Making this kind of effort for each other at home is adorable, but it’s also novel, which makes it exciting. Sit down to enjoy your meal, no phones, and talk to each other. If you’re struggling to find things to talk about after being couped up together, try googling “conversation starters for couples”. My husband and I tried this, and even after 10 years together, we learned something new.
The novelty of doing something special at home, paired with fostering a sense of intimacy with your partner, is a great way to build connection and ‘light each other’s fire’ before heading to the bedroom (or whichever room you want, after all we are talking about spicing things up). It also acts as an uplifting, and relaxing distraction from all the craziness going on in the world right now. On that note, there is a lot of uncertainty in many of our lives at the moment, and mental health can also impact our libido. It’s important to go gentle on yourself. It’s totally ok if you and/or your partner are still not feeling up to having sex. Listen to your body and go at your own pace.
Fun fact: did you know the hymen is also known as the vaginal corona?
Let’s talk about toys. There are so many on the market, what should people be looking for? And how do we care for our toys?
Pleasure products and lubricants are wonderful, and in my opinion a huge asset to our solo and partnered sex lives. There is a huge range of toys and lubricants available on the market. It can be really overwhelming trying to decide which product/s will best suit your needs! It’s important to note that the adult toy and lubricant industry is not well regulated, so not all toys and lubricants are body safe.
At Pleasure & Peach, we pride ourselves on only stocking high quality, body-safe pleasure products and lubricants. All our pleasure products are made from quality materials such as medical grade silicone and borosilicate glass. Our toys are free from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), thermoplastic rubber (TPR), and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE). Our gorgeous lubricant collection is also amazing! Our entire lubricant range is vegan, cruelty free, hypoallergenic, PH balanced, and 100% recyclable, AND they are all free from Parabens and glycerine.
When it comes to taking care of your pleasure products, always wash them in warm soapy water after every use. If you own more than one silicone toy, it is important to store them separately from each other. Silicone breaks down silicone, so to ensure the longevity of your toys keep them apart.
For those that are new to toys, both singles and couples, have you got any recommendations?
When it comes to pleasure products, most toy can be used for both solo and partnered play. My top picks for both solo and partnered play are…
Vibrators - Over 95% of women need direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. Vibrators are an amazing tool that can be used to stimulate the clitoris, and they often make it easier to orgasm too! They are a wonderful way to bring pleasure to your play during either solo or partnered sex. We love them! If you’re looking to purchase your first toy, or wanting to add a versatile toy to your collection, I would recommend a clitoral vibrator like the VeDo “Yumi”.
G-spot stimulators – Our glass g-spot stimulators are absolute heaven for those who enjoy internal stimulation. Their curved design makes them easy for you or a partner to use during play. For an intensely pleasurable experience, have your partner use the glass stimulator on your g-spot during oral sex, or while you use your vibrator. This can create what is called a blended orgasm.
Anal plugs and beads - When it comes to choosing an anal toy, you must always make sure it has a flared base. You don’t want anything getting lost up there! We have a beautiful collection of silicone butt plugs and beads. They are absolutely divine! Butt plugs and anal beads can be left in while you enjoy other sexual stimulation such as oral sex, penetrative sex, or while you use a vibrator. Lubricant should always be used when engaging in anal play of any kind. No ifs, buts, or coconuts, lube is always essential! The use of butt plugs and anal beads can be intensely pleasurable for both men and women, so they can be really fun to add into partnered play! Butt plugs for everyone!
The Ohnut - For vulva owners that experience pain or discomfort during penetrative sex, I highly recommend The Ohnut. This ingenious product is made up of super soft silicone rings that sit at the base of a penis/fingers/toy to help control the depth of penetration. I love, love, love this product!
Lubricant - Lubricant is so darn great! In my opinion it is the best, yet most underutilized sexual product of all time. It makes all variations of sex even better! It removes friction, which we all know is very uncomfortable. Even with a vagina’s self-lubricating system, the addition of extra lubricant can bring you a more pleasurable experience. During penetrative sex, the use of lubricant also lowers the risk of condom breakage. Pleasure & Peach has an extensive range of body safe lubricants to take your solo and partnered play to the next level.
As a single gal, with lots of single girlfriends, we’re always talking about how to find feminist porn, podcasts, and erotica. Any recommendations for us?
There is lots of wonderful ethical porn out there! Erika Lust and her Xconfessions project is great. Subscribers write in their sexual fantasies, and she turns them into beautiful erotic films! Four Chambers, Pink Label TV, and Indie Porn Revolution also create amazing content. Feministpornreviews.com is a great site if you want some recommendations, or to read reviews to find the perfect film or producer for you.
Girls On Porn is a fabulous podcast “hosted by two erotic enthusiasts and all round horny gals Laura and Rachel”, who each week review ethical porn, based on popular search terms. Researching, and paying for your porn is the way to go, it’s important that performers are looked after and paid for their work.
So, back to the topic of solo sex, should we all be doing more of it whilst we’re self-isolating?
Okay, so by now you know my feelings about solo-sex. It’s amazing! During the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are stuck at home and facing many uncertainties. It is especially in times like these that we must look after ourselves and engage in plenty of self-care. Solo sex can be a beautiful expression of this.
There are so many proven health benefits of masturbation, yet we rarely celebrate them. Along with releasing endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine, sex for one can help ease period cramps, help you sleep, relieves stress, helps in building a connection and appreciation between you and your body, and is a wonderful way to learn about your body and how you like to be touched.
It’s also fun for fun’s sake, and a great way to pass some time!
So, why not take matters into your own hands, take one for the team (and for yourself) and get down with self- pleasure. To check out Pleasure & Peach online, follow them on Instagram.